January 21, 2014

Joined: Jan 21, 2014

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I had a thoroughly wonderful experience with MBA Mission and received my admission notice to my first choice school (Columbia) two weeks ago. I had an average GPA (3.3) from NYU Stern, above average work experience, and a fairly good GMAT score of 740. I used mbaMission's service to apply to Columbia, my first choice school and a bit of a reach through Early Decision, together with Wharton (reach school) and Cornell. In my opinion, if you already have a fairly strong resume and a decent GMAT score, it is worth it to give MBA Mission a shot to help make the most of your chances for the top schools.

I first heard of MBA Mission through a strong recommendation from my GMAT study program and decided to give it a shot in May. Within two days of signing up for their 3 school program, I was paired by with Debbie Choy, a senior consultant with the company. Debbie quickly walked me through what the service would cover - resume preparation, essay editing, general recommendation letter advice, as well as interview prep.

Throughout the process, Debbie was very courteous and professional. Less than a week after signing up for the service, Debbie walked me through the common patterns of essay topics and helped me piece together my past accomplishments, achievements, and extracurricular / community services; we then brainstormed together and strategized my MBA "story" and recurring themes that we would use on the admissions essays. By the time we were ready to tackle the actual essays, I felt that we already had a game plan in place and that I was well prepared. As an extra measure, Debbie asked me to make outlines of each essay for each school to give the essay shape and focus. As a result, even from the very first draft I felt confident in what I was writing and that my essays conveyed the right message. However, the essays needed further refinement and polish, as well as to remain within the word limit and

All together, Debbie and I went through about 10 drafts for each essay for each school. Given that I applied to three schools with MBA Missiion's help and each school typically asks for 3 essays, plus one optional essay where I had to explain a dismal grade in Calculus, we went through no less than 40 drafts for my applications.

The turnaround time for the essay was within 2 business days of when I emailed them to Debbie, often much earlier. I worked on other essays while Debbie reviewed my current drafts to make my time more efficient. Upon receiving a draft back, Debbie would not only comment on the essay and suggest changes, but also clearly state her rationale for the changes on the email. If I was still unclear, I could always shoot her an email back for a prompt reply. With each consecutive draft the essays were refined and perfected. In the end, when I strongly felt that I had the best essay draft possible, I let Debbie know that it would become the final version for submission.

Once I finalized the essays, our attentions quickly turned to the next critical piece of my application, the recommendation letters. Most schools generally ask for two letters, one from a current / immediately prior supervisor and one more of a student's choice. Debbie started by asked me to compile a list of esteemed professionals that I had extensive contact with and knew my professional development and growth over the past few years. Once we established whom should write the letters, Debbie and I identified a list of attributes that would enhance my application. For instance, since I had received a rather dismal grade in calculus, Debbie suggested that my supervisor should bring up my quantitative skills on the recommendation letter in order to mitigate any fears that the admissions committees would have on my ability to handle the course load. In the end, I was able to reach out to my two recommendation letter writers with a concise but essential outline of what should ideally be included in their recommendation letters in order to maximize their effectiveness. Once the letters came back, Debbie was able to look them over and provide a very high level review on what worked and what didn't. I was able to convey these changes to my recommenders before they submitted their final copies.

At the very end, Debbie did a high level review of my entire application with me before I sent it away to the schools. Approximately two weeks after submitting the application, I was contacted by both Cornell and Columbia for an interview. Debbie immediately scheduled a review session with me going over the concepts, themes, and patterns on the interviews. MBA Mission compiled lists of frequently asked questions of each school from previous clients so I had a chance to look over those questions in advance and prepare and plan for my responses. When I felt confident enough, I scheduled a 30 minute mock interview session with Debbie and received much needed feedback on what I did well and what I needed to improve on. When the actual interview date came I walked in confident and well prepared. The interview turned out much easier than what we prepared for.

No more than two weeks later, I received a phone call from Columbia Business School notifying me of my admissions!

In short, with your own hard work and MBA Mission's help, you will be able to put your best foot forward to those "reach" schools that you've always wanted.

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